What’s the benefit of energy efficient upgrades to your home? Is it really worth it? And why energy efficient appliances? Green updates are vital if you want to sell your home and get a good price for it. Plus you’ll save a fortune on bills and protect the environment.
We’re going to cover some quick DIY tricks you can do yourself, and some home improvement projects to leave to the pros. We’ll also look at how you can get federal energy efficiency tax credit.
Looking At Normal Energy Usage
The average American home uses 10,972 kWh per year. Certainly looks like a high number, but let’s put that into context. It’s the equivalent of almost 11,000 full washing machine cycles. Or to put it another way, more than 60 years using a laptop.
Most people are out of the house all day now anyway. So how on earth do we end up using that much power?
Where Is The Energy Used In Your Home?
Every household is different but there are some patterns in energy usage that you should know about.
Here are the top culprits that are probably sucking your money away and harming the environment.
#1 Heating And Air Conditioning
HVAC is the number one reason why energy efficient appliances are worth it.
Why? HVAC systems make up around 33% of your energy usage. That’s a large proportion of your household budget. We bet you can think of a hundred ways you’d rather spend your money than on HVAC bills.
And remember, in a particularly hot summer or cold winter in an energy-inefficient home, it could be even more.
#2 Electrical Appliances
These use around 14% of the total energy of your home.
- Electric oven
The water heater alone comprises about 12% of your total energy expenditure on appliances, a significant proportion. This isn’t just hot showers but dishwashers, doing laundry and regular hand washing.
As you can imagine, switching to an energy-efficient dryer or even an energy-efficient dishwasher is a sensible move.
#3 TVs And Media
Entertainment accounts for around 6% of your property’s total energy expenditure. So bear that in mind when you’re using any of the following.
- Video game consoles
- Home theater systems
Lighting typically accounts for 5% of your total energy usage. Not bank-breaking but you can still lower it easily.
DIY Tricks To Get A More Energy-Efficient Home Yourself In 5 Minutes
Here are three of the easiest energy efficient upgrades for your home.
Switch Your Lightbulbs
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are much more energy-efficient choices than traditional lighting.
Once your existing light bulbs reach the end of their lives, make a note to replace them with energy efficient ones. Alternatively, you could replace them right now in rooms where you need to use the lights a lot.
Turn Down The Water Heater
Let’s face it, no mortal takes showers at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You can’t even wash your hands at that temperature. But most manufacturers set water heaters to 140 as standard.
Reduce the temperature to 120 degrees and you’ll save hundreds of dollars every year.
Switch The Direction Of Your Fans
In the summer it’s best to have fans spinning counterclockwise. Why? It pushes the cold air from your HVAC systems down to the floor.
In the winter it’s the opposite. Have the blades spinning clockwise to pull the cold air away from the ground.
Professional Home Upgrades That Boost Energy Efficiency
Seal Cracks And Gaps
Older home? Little gaps and cracks let air in. This means your HVAC system needs to work harder, for little reward. Check the doors and windows. Are there any tiny openings?
All you need is a tube of silicone caulk. Apply a thin line along the edge of the frame and let it dry to create a firm seal. If there’s not much to be done, this can be a quick DIY job.
Likewise, you can fix weatherstripping to the bottom of garage doors, attic doors, and doors that lead outside.
Get Energy Efficient Ceiling Fans Installed
If you don’t already have them, energy-efficient ceiling fans are a neat way to help your HVAC system do its job while using less energy.
Have Your Water Pipes Insulated
You can save 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit of lost heat just by insulating your water pipes.
That means you’ll be able to turn down your water heater and maintain the same amount of hot water.
Energy Efficiency With Thermostat Upgrades
Install A Programmable Thermostat
Now you’ll be able to choose the temperature you want your home to be when no-one’s home, or when you’re sleeping.
The climate across the US is totally different from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles and especially when compared to New Jersey or New York.
But as a rule of thumb, program your thermostat to 78 degrees in summer and 68 in winter. This can save you an impressive 10% a year on energy.
Get A Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat is even better. What is it? It works through an app on your phone.
Unexpected late night at work? Then you can postpone when your heating or A/C comes on. And that way you’re never heating or cooling an empty home.
It’s also good if you’re out and realize that you forgot to turn off your HVAC system.
Attic And Crawl Space
Clean Your Attic And Crawl Space
Ever notice a musty smell, especially after wet days? Attics accumulate dust and dirt that doesn’t just stay where it is. The mold spores, dust and fiberglass particles from the insulation can waft around your home and damage the indoor air quality.
Importantly for energy efficiency, all that floating debris makes your HVAC system work harder for nothing.
Have Insulation Installed
Is your home draftier than it was a few years back? Damper? If your insulation is old it’s likely worn and letting the temperature and moisture transfer through easily.
Attic and crawl space insulation doesn’t cost a lot upfront but you’ll get a great return on investment in low energy bills.
Get Attic Air Sealing At The Same Time As Insulation
Sealing up all the holes in your attic is a simple way to keep your home the temperature you want for longer. So no more drafts, leaks, or dust allergies at home.
Have you ever noticed icicles on your gutters? They might be due to a warm roof because of poor attic insulation or cracks.
Install A Radiant Barrier
First off, what’s a radiant barrier?
It’s simply a reflective layer of material in your attic. And in winter it works by reflecting the heat you want back into your home.
In the summer, it does the opposite. The radiant barrier reflects the heat from the sun back out of your home again.
How do your windows look? If they’ve seen better days they’re probably letting in the outside air in the summer or winter when you really don’t want them to.
Here’s what you need to look for when choosing new windows.
- Energy efficient glass
- Insulation through weatherstripping
How much will energy efficient windows save? This is the exciting part. According the the U.S. Department of Energy, you could save over $450 a year in bills.
How old is your roof? If it’s more than about 30 years old then you should replace it. This is certainly one of the more expensive energy efficient upgrades for your home, but it’s well worth it.
Over the years, cracks appear and they let in moisture and wind currents. Roofs are usually the first to suffer storm damage too. And these cracks and gaps let out the heating and cooling that you want to keep in your home.
A sleek new roof also gives your home a real “wow” factor from the street. Not to mention it boosts your property value immensely. So if you’re planning on selling, a new roof is a great investment.
Solar panels are the green dream. The energy they produce is totally non-toxic and especially good in places with a lot of sun like Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.
As of 2022, you can get a huge 26% federal energy efficiency tax credit for installing solar panels.
The Outside Of Your House
Painting the exterior of your home is another way to make your house look fresh from the get-go. It makes potential buyers think “yes”.
At Atticare we can paint the outside of your home with paint formulated with protection against the sun’s radiant heat. Our cutting edge Cool Life™ coating system is four times thicker than regular paint so it’s an excellent insulator.
You can expect to save 21% on energy bills when you update your home with Cool Life™ coating system.
Heating And Cooling Systems
Maintain Your HVAC Regularly, And Replace It When Necessary
Energy efficient A/C is a must.
As we mentioned earlier, your A/C and heating make up a third of your energy consumption. Any faulty parts mean that your money is likely flowing down the drain. So if your HVAC system is coming to the end of its life, it’s well worth replacing it with an energy efficient model.
It’s equally important to have HVAC systems maintained every 6 months so that they run efficiently. Otherwise they get clogged up with dust, pet hair and other debris.
Then you have to run them for longer at a higher setting to get your home the temperature you want. Which is obviously more expensive.
Install A Fan For Your Whole Home
We highly recommend a QuietCool whole house fan. Not only does it cool and ventilate your entire living space, but it can save you 50 to 90% on bills. The fan will work together with your energy efficient A/C because you won’t need to run either device as much.
A whole house fan isn’t just good for the planet. It swishes away odors, germs, smoke and allergens fast. When you go into a home with a whole house fan it feels fresh and clean.
Have The Air Ducts Cleaned And Disinfected
Dirty air ducts are very energy inefficient as well as being a health and fire hazard.
Over time ducts get full of dirt, dust and germs which means they can’t blow as hard. The system has to work even harder for mediocre functionality.
When you hire Atticare for air duct cleaning services, you’ll notice the difference in your HVAC performance right away.
Air Duct Sealing Or Replacement
If your air ducts just aren’t blowing out air as they should, they may actually be damaged. And this is particularly common after a storm or if they’re very old.
Call us for a free inspection if you think this might be the case.
Selling? How Energy Efficiency Will Increase Your Property Value
It’s Economical In The Long Run
Smart sellers know why energy efficient appliances and installations are attractive.
Potential homebuyers are already shelling out more for properties these days. So the idea of very low HVAC bills is extremely appealing. Buyers know it’s a win-win if they can keep their home at the temperature they want easily, at a minimal cost.
People Care More And More About The Environment
The climate crisis is in the media a lot now.
And you’ll likely live in a home for many years. So for the environmentally conscious, that’s a huge opportunity to reduce their negative impact on our planet.
Call Atticare to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
At Atticare our mission is simple. To provide top quality energy-efficient home services to homeowners in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and New Jersey.
In addition to all the money you’ll save on bills, we’ll even send you a check for $200 when you refer a friend.
Call our friendly Diamond Certified team at 866-692-5449 today. Simply schedule a free, no obligation inspection with our energy efficiency experts at your home. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain in lower bills and caring for the planet.